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A.Word.A.Day--attic salt

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attic salt (AT-ik salt) noun

Refined, delicate wit. Also known as attic wit.

[From Attic (of Greece or of Athens, after Attica, a region in southeast Greece surrounding Athens) + salt (wit).]

"On minor occasions anyone possessing a fluent tongue, and knowledge and nerve, and a pinch of the Attic salt of humour will probably speak best on the spur of the moment, but trusting to inspiration may sometimes prove a broken reed, and those who have to obey the orders of the toast master when important issues are at stake may be advised to make more or less careful preparation."
After-Dinner Speeches; British Medical Journal (London, UK); May 12, 2001.

"No one was spared in a city of so much liberty, or rather license, as Athens was at that time. Generals, magistrates, government, the very gods, were abandoned to the poet's satirical vein; and all was well received, providing the comedy was diverting, and the Attic salt not wanting."
Charles Rollin; Rollin's Ancient History; 1992.

This week's theme: Words that appear misleading


Men are often capable of greater things than they perform. They are sent into the world with bills of credit, and seldom draw to their full extent. -Horace Walpole, novelist and essayist (1717-1797)

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